IT HURTS !!! by Vinay
The subject line shouldnt be dismissed as an over the top reaction after the last few results we have had, this is an heart felt pain dwelling upon from some time.
When in 1996, the premier league was just about getting broadcast in India and satellite tv was taking shape, me as a precocious teenager who lived in a cricket crazy country and played cricket as well, saw Arsenal play for the first time. There is a saying which goes like this- you dont choose your football club, the club chooses you and that applied to me. It was love at first sight for me and 16 years later the love has never diminished nor decreased. “The Arsenal” were my football club, whatever they did, however they played, they were perfect, they could do no wrong, win lose or draw. As the years went by, the love for Arsenal increased, neither studies nor girl friend or even my first job gave me as much happiness as say an Arsenal win. Arsenal continued to play football the right way as a layman would want it to be seen. They played with gay abandon and a kind of child like innocence, i remember what Boris Becker, the tennis great said- “I felt good, the weather was clear, i wanted to win the point”, this was said when he was asked did he not take a risk going for a huge second serve at deuce, Arsenal played the game purely, we played with spirit, we played with a fight and we played hard. No we were not always successful, we have gone through barren runs to, heck we were to cast back our eyes, the club has never been consistently winning trophies but hell that was never an issue was it?
So what has happened so suddenly that all of us feel so miserable and dejected? Arsenal seem to have lost its identity. No i am not going to question anyone who may say back in our times things werent any different, i wont even ask did it hurt then for i know it would have, no i am not living on past glories of the invincibles or the double winning teams of 98, no i dont even say our club should only be measured by success, what makes me sad is Arsenal seem to be losing their way. financially we may post sound returns but what matters is what happens on the football pitch. You rather see an Arsenal win than a couple of zeros added on to the profits dont you? I am not a financial guy but i do respect the efforts put in to ensure that we continue being a self sufficient club but in doing so did we lose out on the on field activities?
Its not a super market that we can go and buy anyone said the boss, i agree and i dont advocate ridiculous amounts of money to be spent on a player but when your house is leaking you want it to be fixed by the best plumber dont you for afterall its your home. Game after game we continue doing the same mistakes and we say well it can only improve? Why do we continue trying to fix the same problems? its not about losing your best players, they left for their lame reasons and i dont give a damn fuck to the ones who leave the club; what i cant comprehend is why dont we replace the void left? An RVP left, we get Giroud and with due respect to Oliver, thats like chalk and cheese, ok fine we dont have the resources to buy a top top player then change the strategy to suit what we have, how can we be rigid. We all knew we dint have a solid Goal keeper and we still continue with what we have, a left back for years left(Clichy) and we buy an unheard brazilian who has no clue on how to defend. Why are we so poor in such things? Now dont tell me no one wants to play for us, we still are among the best in the land and across Europe, atleast amongst the best. We pursue a player for years and in the end lose out on him for the sake of a few million or for a few extra thousand a week? Is this a resource management company or a football club? In all what we finally end up is a good team when allowed to play their way which sadly happens in an ideal scenario or in a fantasy world.
We laugh at Liverpool the way they have gone downhill from the time the premier league started and when we look around, there seems to be an odd similarity to their situation and ours in terms of footballing reasons only. Both teams have past glories, both teams have a good set of players and both teams border on hope that someday all that they hope for may come true. There is no ideal world there, its cut throat competition and its not for the faint hearted.
Finally what hurts the most is there is no pride playing for the Gunners. A few players do so but when you see them kiss the badge and ignite the crowd, what in the past was meant now seems make believe. Does it not hurt when you lose/ of course it does but does it not hurt to see you lose abjectly? We may have never won trophies galore but there was a marked dignity towards the club but nowadays teams come and show us how to play, thats irony at its worst. I agree every team plays to win but ask any team would they play Arsenal now or before, the answer will be obvious. Its always not about personnel, we were lucky we had great players playing together at the same time, its about the attitude. The players seem scared to express themselves, when i see a footballing genius like Santi cazorla trying to cover up for his defense, i can only laugh and say what have we come down to? it maybe the need of the hour but why did we drag it upon ourselves time and time again? Blame whoever needs to be blamed but its a collective responsibility right. The players are as much to be blamed as say the manager or the board for end of the day its they who play the game.
I still love you Arsenal, i never had a second club, i hate all other clubs in the world, i sincerely pray before every game day and i cry after every loss, you gave me a meaning to my life, me and millions of gooners across the world look upto you as our savior and when you as well give up, then it hurts, it really does. I dont care if you dont win a trophy ever but do remember when you go to the pitch that its not just the 60,000 odd people in the stadium who root for you, there are millions across the world who do the same, every move you make every breath you take we are right there with you but do play with pride, play with happiness and play as if there is no tomorrow. There maybe critics there maybe optimists but there is not a fan on this earth who wouldnt disagree when i say- Arsenal please play like Arsenal. you were the alternate to every domination, you were the identity to every dreamer and you were the hope on whom we hinged our lives. Please dont make us lose hope.